Voyageur Storytelling: Concert Repertoire 2009

Voyageur Storytelling

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we tell you about

our Repertoire and Concerts

for 2009

Themes and Schemes for 2009

In 2009 we decided we needed to present a new set of themes, requiring new repertoire. Quite frankly, we thought we were getting a bit stale, and that our audiences would appreciate some new material. The first concert, called Food for Thought, celebrated Food, which is of course an essential part of the Voyageur Storytelling approach. The second was entirely different from anything we have done before. It started from the realization that we live in a very special latitudinal zone. Just south of us is the 45th Parallel, the theoretical half-way point between the Equator and the North Pole. Just north of us is the real half-way point, at 45° 8' 45.7". We call this the Shadow Zone, following T.S. Eliot. ("Between the idea and the reality lies the shadow," or words to that effect.) A large number of very interesting, even surprising countries are passed through by this zone, so we followed it around the world, telling stories as we went. Two hours was hardly long enough for this concert; two days might have sufficed.

Our 2009 Summer Concerts

Food for Thought

Invocation: Food — by John Updike

Sora Indik's Restaurant — skit based on a story by Sholem Aleichem

Mrs. Murphy's Chowder — campfire song of unknown origin

Mary Howell: Queen of Fish — based on Mary Howell's memoirs and stories from people who knew her (prepared with assistance from the Ontario Arts Council)

A Word from our Sponsor — skit by Stan Freberg

A Literary Dinner — poem by Vladimir Nabokov

The Last Breakfast — poem by Gwedolyn MacEwan

Mammoth Undertaking — duet with lyrics by Voyageur and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan


nobody loses all the time — poem by e.e. cummings

When the Farmer Comes to Town — traditional song

Sumerian Surprise* — story collected by Voyageur

Some Little Bug — song by Roy Atwell (1915)

Two Challahs — traditional Jewish folk tale

Voyageur's Truck Stop — story by Voyageur ending with a traditional Scottish song

Salad — poem by Sydney Smith

A Dish of Peaches in Russia — poem by Wallace Stevens

Food, Glorious Food — lyrics by Voyageur and music by Lionel Bart

* Part-way through the season his story was replaced with Mundane in Mundare, stories from an Alberta village


Full Fathom Forty-Five

Invocation: The Pilgrimage as Worship — by Alden Knowlan

Full Fathom Forty-Five — poetic prelude borrowed from Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot

Outward, Onward, Homeward Bound — lyrics by Voyageur to a traditional chanty

The Woods of Muskoka — a memoir by Matilda Wood Stone of Franklin Township

The Country North of Belleville — poem by Al Purdy

Border Country — stories collected by Voyageur

What's Sinister about Dexter? — stories collected by Voyageur

Low Tide on Grand Pré — tuned recitation of a poem by Bliss Carman using music by Franz Schubert

The Female Cabin Boy — traditional ballad

Tuber Melanosporum — stories collected by Voyageur

Rumania, Rumania — Yiddish song by Aaron Lebedeff

Two Nurses in Crimea — stories collected by Voyageur

Poles of Inaccessibility — geographic insights collected by Voyageur

The Woodcarver and the Painter — traditional Mongolian tale

Silk Trade, Fur Trade — story based on a report from the Rev. B. Vimont

Home on the Bruce — lyrics by Voyageur to a traditional tune


Sabbath Celebration

From 2008 to 2010 we presented a different kind of event on Friday evenings. Previously, and again in 2011, we served a traditional Sabbath meal, and then performed a concert of Jewish stories and songs. For those three years, however, we joined our guests for the meal and, between courses, performed the stories and songs. These would typically include:

Shehcheyanu — blessing arranged by Ben Steinberg

Sabbath Blessings for lighting of candles, sweet wine and challah bread

Shalom Aleichem — Israel Goldfarb & Gil Aldema

Sabbath Prayer — from Fiddler on the Roof by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock

Bread & Teeth — by Boris Bruser (a Canadian praire merchant)

Sahaki — our translation of a traditional song

Elijah the Guest — traditional story told by Leslie

The Age-Old Question — Yiddish song sung translated by Paul

Bulbes! (Potatoes!) — Yiddish song sung by Leslie with simultaneous translation by Paul (this song is a classic of the Voyageur Jewish repertoire)

The Nigun, or The Wooden Sword — traditional stories told by Leslie

Havenu Shalom Aleichem and Hava Nagila — traditional songs sung and danced by everyone

Wandering Jews — anecdotes of Canadian Jewry, told by Paul

Grace after Eating

Nigun Talmudei Besht — arranged by Ben Steinberg

Prayer — by A.M. Klein

Eli, Eli — by Hannah Senesh & David Zahavi

Image: cover images are Jewish symbols by unknown artists

Links to Concerts from Other Years

(This page is 2009. If that's the year you want, you're already there.)

Voyageur Storytelling, December 2012

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